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File photo. Senator Ivana Bacik Sasko Lazarov/
Dublin Bay South

Bacik outlines Labour's vision for post-Covid Ireland and attacks government 'shambles' in bye-election bid

The long-time Senator is looking to win a Dáil seat for Labour in Dublin Bay South.

LABOUR SENATOR IVANA Bacik launched her campaign this evening as she bids to win a seat in the upcoming Dublin Bay South bye-election.

Criticising the government as “a shambles” and “entirely lacking in vision”, she emphasised affordable housing, decent healthcare and childcare, and tackling climate change as some of her key priorities heading into the campaign. 

Earlier today, one of Bacik’s rivals to fill the seat vacated by former Fine Gael housing minister Eoghan Murphy, his party colleague James Geoghegan, set out his stall at a press conference with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Varadkar indicated it would be likely that the bye-election will be held during the summer. 

In the four-seater, Dublin Bay South already has TDs from Fianna Fáil (Jim O’Callaghan), the Green Party (Eamon Ryan) and Sinn Féin (Chris Andrews).

While Geoghegan is hoping to retain the seat for Fine Gael, Bacik will be aiming to take the seat and add to Labour’s six seats in the 33rd Dáil.

She said this evening: “I am really proud to be a candidate here on my home ground. My family home is here in Terenure where my mother still lives, I went to school and college in the constituency, following graduation I lived in Ringsend and the south inner city – and for many years now have lived with my own family in Portobello.

And I have been a Labour member in this constituency for many years – I first joined what was then Dublin South East as a student through Trinity Labour – I want to give particular thanks to all the comrades in Trinity Labour who have already been busy on my behalf stuffing envelopes – in the best tradition.

Bacik said that the government is “failing”, “driven by vested interests” and said “there is no one who believes its half-hearted schemes will make a difference”. 

She said that the pandemic has shown how much government can do in an emergency situation and this bye-election was an opportunity to shake Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil out of their “complacency”.

“Alongside our economic recovery, we must also ensure a social recovery with real progress on building sustainable communities,” she said. “We need to focus public spending on vastly increased provision of affordable housing; on decent healthcare, childcare and social care, on investment in education, on public amenities and on tackling climate change. 

“In this constituency, care is a huge issue. So many people that I have met over the last few weeks and months have spoken with me about their difficulties in accessing quality affordable childcare; about their concerns for older relatives and lack of care options; and about the appalling lack of places for children with additional needs in local schools.

“I have led the development of a national childcare policy for Labour; and have been working with parents of children with additional needs to secure increased provision of school places.”

She said the Labour party’s vision is similar to that of the post-war Labour party in Britain – “a national health service and welfare system to provide support ‘from cradle to grave’”.

Bacik added: “That’s the vision that we in Labour are now putting forward for Irish society as we come through this awful crisis. I would like to play a part in making that vision a reality and that’s why I am honoured to be your candidate.”

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